A number of hospitals are failing to share data which could spot doctors that continue to make mistakes.
Research by BBC Radio 5 Live found that while several NHS trusts had given compensation to patients after repeated allegations made against a doctor, they had not referred the complaints to the General Medical Council (GMC).
According to the study, some doctors have been involved in as many as six incidents which have not been reported to the council.
Freedom of information requests made by 5 Live found that out of 163 hospitals looked at, 13 had not reported issues to the GMC involving at least one doctor despite compensation being paid out since 2008.
And to make matters worse, in half of those trusts the doctors involved had moved to other hospitals which were not informed of the complaints.
Peter Walsh, chief executive of Action Against Medical Accidents, said the study suggests that a "distaste for regulation" is being put before patient safety.
"Too much faith is placed in local systems of clinical governance, failing to acknowledge conflicts of interest which lead to things being kept in-house or swept under the carpet," he added.
Find the nearest Barchester care home